A case of sedition was filed by the Lakshadweep police on Thursday against local resident, activist and filmmaker Aisha Sultana for calling the Union Territory’s administrator Praful K Patel a “bioweapon”. The case was filed based on a complaint raised by the BJP Lakshadweep president C Abdul Khader Haji, who alleged that Sultana criticised the Centre and Patel during a debate on a Malayalam news channel about the ongoing political crisis in Lakshadweep.
Justifying her statement in a recent Facebook post, Sultana wrote, “I had used the word bio-weapon in the TV channel debate. I have felt Patel as well as his policies [have acted] as a bio-weapon. It was through Patel and his entourage that Covid-19 spread in Lakshadweep. I have compared Patel as a bioweapon, not the government or the country…. You should understand. What else should I call him…”
Sultana has been at the forefront of the recent campaign against the recently proposed legislation and controversial reform measures that have triggered widespread anger amongst locals.
So, who is Aisha Sultana?
Aisha Sultana, a native of Lakshadweep’s Chetlat island, is an actor, model and director. Aisha has previously worked as an associate director on the sets of the Malayalam film ‘Kettyolaanu Ente Malaakha’. She made her directorial debut in 2020, with the independent Malayalam film ‘Flush’.
In his complaint against Sultana, Haji said that the filmmaker called Patel a “bio-weapon” that was being wielded by the Central government during a news debate on the Malayalam channel, ‘MediaOne TV’. The remarks had sparked protests from the BJP’s Lakshadweep unit. BJP workers had moved complaints against Aisha in Kerala as well.
Expressing solidarity with Sultana, the Lakshadweep Sahitya Pravarthaka Sangam condemned the sedition charges against her. “It is not proper to depict her as anti-national. She had reacted against the inhumane approach of the administrator. It was Patel’s interventions that made Lakshadweep a Covid-affected area. The cultural community in Lakshadweep would stand with her,’’ spokesperson K Bahir said.
Several other politicians and activists have since taken to social media to protest against the filing of the sedition case against Sultana.
The case under Sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 B (hate speech) was registered at Kavaratti police station on Thursday.